A  Saucy Time Management Technique

A while back I was sitting down with SEO master Ed Winslow of NicheQuest and he shared a time management technique with me, with a funny name. It’s called the Pomodoro Technique. I know that pomodoro is Italian for tomato, which is what one hurls at people with questionable ideas. Besides, I feel like I am up to my ears in time management tips. But the more I learned about it, the more it made sense, A LOT of sense. In it’s bare essence, the Pomodoro Technique involves working for 25 minutes and resting for 5 minutes.

It turns out that the Pomodoro Technique has been around for years,  so I won’t go into all the details, but I will share why I think it works so well. The idea is not to work through a solid morning or other continuous block, before taking a break, but to work regular breaks into that block. Focus on your work for a solid 25 minutes, then, ready or not, take a 5 minute break.

You may be thinking that if you added up 6 of those breaks up, you would gain an extra half hour and that surely, you could accomplish more work that way. The 5 minute breaks, however, allow you to “sharpen the saw,” so that you can cut through more work during your 25 minute blocks. I use it to take a green break, which includes stretching and drinking water, and to finish off some minor chores around the house, that I would love to get off my mind.

After I have breathed deep, stretched, hydrated, and cleared my mind, I am able to focus better on my work and actually get those to-do’s to done, without distraction. The other thing that keeps me more focused is knowing that the clock is running, especially if I can hear it ticking. I know that in the next 25 minutes I will be able to take another break. As I close in on that break, I find myself concentrating better and pushing to wrap up.

A great tool for this technique is the Time Timer, which I have written about before. With it’s red section of time, you can see exactly what 25 minutes looks like, so you can adjust accordingly.  It is also important to set the timer for your 5 minute break. You’ll get really good at knowing what short activities you can fit into your little breaks, but above all, recharge. Don’t think of the 5 minute break as something you do instead of work, but something you do to improve your work.

Of course, this technique works best if you have prioritized and planned your day effectively, but that’s a subject for another post. Once you have things lined up in a well organized, manageable way, you find yourself quickly crossing off the tasks on your list, with the Pomodoro Technique.

Give it a try. You’ll be amazed how productive you are!